Dynamic adjustment of lexical processing in the lexical decision task: Cross-trial sequence effects

David A. Balota, Andrew J. Aschenbrenner, Melvin J. Yap

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


There has been growing interest in dynamic changes in the lexical processing system across trials, which have typically been assessed via linear mixed effect modelling. In the current study, we explore the influence of previous trial lexicality and previous trial perceptual degradation on the effect of lexicality and degradation on the current trial. The results of analyses of three datasets (two previously published studies and a new study) provide evidence for a robust four-way interaction among previous trial lexicality and degradation and current trial lexicality and degradation effects. Discussion emphasizes how priming of relevant dimensions (clear vs. degraded or word vs. nonword) within the experimental context modulates the influence of degradation on the current trial as a function of lexicality. These results suggest that in lexical decision there are robust lingering effects of the previous stimulus and response that carry over to the current stimulus and response, and participants cannot tune task-related systems to only the present trial. Importantly, although these complex relationships are theoretically important regarding lexical and decision level processes, these complexities also reinforce Keith Rayner’s emphasis on on-line eye-tracking measures during reading as the most straightforward window into word-level processes engaged during reading.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-45
Number of pages9
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number1 Special Issue
StatePublished - Jan 2018


  • Lexical decision
  • Sequential effects


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